Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, Barak Ravid, said Tuesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has come to the understanding that he made a “huge mistake” in his efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
In an interview with Aimee Amiga, the reporter said Kerry’s move to introduce Hamas allies Turkey and Qatar to the group of negotiators only served to sabotage efforts being made by Israeli allies.
“This was a huge mistake by Kerry,” said Ravid, “But, you know what? I think he got the message.”
Last week, Ravid revealed the full text of Kerry’s cease-fire proposal, which was rejected by both Israel and Hamas, and wrote in an analysis that his conduct in brokering the plan raised serious doubts over his comprehension of regional events. Ravid’s analysis was one of many articles across the spectrum of Israeli media – and government officials – that criticized the secretary’s conduct.
Kerry’s failed effort and the subsequent Israeli criticism of his conduct, however, did not lead to a new crisis in relations between Israel and the United States, Ravid clarified in the interview. Rather, he said, the tensions felt between the countries over the past few days is typical of Israeli-U.S. debate over differing policies.
In the interview on Tuesday, Ravid also said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has changed his attitude toward international monitors.
“Over the years he has always said that he is against international forces In Iran he doesn’t trust the IAEA inspections of the nuclear facilities. In Lebanon he says that UNIFIL, the UN force there is not doing its job. In the West Bank he rejected numerous proposals for international forces because he says that only the IDF can protect Israel.
“But here in Gaza, all of a sudden he says, ‘I want an international mechanism to help in monitoring, inspecting and even being on the ground in Gaza.”
This shift in his approach, says Ravid, may lead to a change in the way he looks at the West Bank, too. This is the first time Netanyahu has encouraged the international community to be involved.
The diplomatic correspondent also said the exposure of Hamas’ infiltration tunnels has served as a “wake-up call – not only for the international community, not only for the Israeli government, but for almost every person and organization that is dealing with the blockade on Gaza.”
The key message that emerges from this lesson, says Ravid, is that “we really have to inspect and monitor everything that goes on in Gaza, at least as long as Hamas is the ruling party there.”
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